It’s shaping up to be a big year for animation as the biggest industry players like Disney, Sony and Illumination are releasing at least two animated projects. Granted, some of these may have been the meatloaf left to chill in the refrigerator by a dastardly 2020. Regardless, whatever has been lost is being embraced lovingly with open arms this year.
So, what are these animated features that we are hyping so much about? Let’s not waste any time and get right into the deets!
TOM AND JERRY
The first entry on this list might not exactly fall into the animated category but since it does feature animated characters in a live-action world, we’re letting it slip. The cunning feline and feisty rodent, sworn enemies till death, are bringing their never-ending feud to the big screen as they take their battle to the streets of NYC.
Starring in live-action roles are Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Ken Jeong, and Rob Delaney as several members of a New York Hotel who get mixed up in the cat-and-mouse game. Expect the classic wackiness of Tom and Jerry to endear to your slapstick bones.
Release date: 11th February 2021+
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
Long ago, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Druun attacked. 500 years passed, and a lone warrior named Raya emerges to put a halt to these monsters. Although she may be skilled and tough, she still has to learn a lot about trust. But we believe, Raya can save the world. (Cue dramatic music*)
In a first, Walt Disney Animation is delving into the cultures of Southeast Asia through Raya (all the more to celebrate)! We mean, we’d freak if we saw Disney-fied rendang or a game of Sepak Takraw. There’s simply so much potential here to be explored!
The film features the voice talents of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina, who will be playing Raya and the dragon Sisu respectively.
Release date: 11th March 2021
THE BOSS BABY: FAMILY BUSINESS
Picking up many years after the first film, Tim and Ted aka Boss Baby have advanced into adulthood and drifted from each other. Tim’s married and Ted is the CEO of a hedge fund company. When Tim’s new infant reveals that she is a top-secret agent for BabyCorp who is out and about to uncover secrets of a school and its founder, the two Templeton brothers will reunite and discover the meaning of family together. If it’s anything like the first movie, be prepared for some crazy bib-and-teether action!
Release date: 25th March 2021
Bam! Smack! Pow!
In this supersized collision between colossal monsters (no we’re not talking about a hulking ape and atomic-breathing lizard), a giant named Steve gets trained by young Winnie to compete in the professional sport of Monster Wrestling. Steve’s inexperienced but lovable nature makes him the underdog of the competition. Can he and Winnie rise to the occasion to go up against the terrifying reigning champion, Tentacular?
Release Date: 13th May 2021
It has almost been 20 years since the fantastic 2D animated film, “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” first premiered, but that tale will be continued once more. In the Netflix produced series, “Spirit Riding Free”, a girl named Lucky Prescott’s experiences changes in her life when she moves from the city to a small town and crosses paths with a wild mustang. “Spirit Untamed” is set to build upon the series through a feature-length film.
Release Date: 3rd June 2021
Lin-Manuel Miranda is Hollywood’s hot stuff. From “Hamilton”, to “Mary Poppins”, “Moana”, and the upcoming adaptation of his musical “In The Heights”, the versatile creator has been pumping out projects like clockwork. One of his next endeavours will be an animated musical adventure, “Vivo”, which will take audiences to new heights with its gorgeous locations and vibrant style.
Release Date: 3rd June 2021
PIXAR’s next offering after the ethereal experience of “Soul” is set to explore the bountiful beauty of Italy. Set in the stunning landscape of a seaside township, “Luca” will tell the coming-of-age story of a young boy spending his summer with his newfound friend. Nevertheless, there’s a colossal secret of deep-sea proportions threatening to disrupt this friendship. Can the scooter fun and gelato joy still go on?
Release Date: 17th June 2021
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU
The lovable Minions are back… in the past as their nonsensical shenanigans bleed into the heart of an up-and-coming supervillain whose name rhymes with ‘didgeridoo’. After the villainous group known as the Vicious 6 declines his application, Gru and his adorably vicious Minions attempt to hatch an idea to become the epitome of evil. So, join Kevin, Bob, Stuart and a new Minion named Otto, as they build Gru their first lair, invent new weapons and embark on their quest to infamy. It’s bananas!
Release date: 1st July 2021
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
The follow-up to the 1996 film starring Michael Jordan will see the return of the beloved Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Lola Bunny, and Porky Pig are back as they team up with LeBron James and his young son Bronny to defeat a rogue digital algorithm called Al-G. Without a doubt, if you’ve got a basketball champion in the mix, you gotta be shootin’ the hoops to find glory on the court!
Release date: 15th July 2021
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 4
While no plot details have actually been released thus far, we don’t say “Bleh Bleh Bleh” when it comes to our anticipation of the film. The fourth instalment in the “Hotel Transylvania” series will once again focus on the misadventures of Dracula, Mavis Jonathan and the rest of the adorably horrifying motley crew.
Release Date: 5th August 2021
PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE
When Mayor Humdinger threatens the bustling metropolis of Adventure City with
anarchy chaos, the PAW Patrol leap into the action. The first feature film to spin-off from the animated series will up the ante with more exciting missions, high-stake rescues, new pups and amazing new vehicles!
Release Date: 9th September 2021
THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They are the Addams Family. Snap* Snap*
The sequel to the 2019 film will see the morbid family return in animated form as their social hijinks and mad-hatter shenanigans churn more chaos in New Jersey.
Release Date: 7th October 2021
Walt Disney Animation’s second release of 2021 is a charming one, giving rise to the Madrigals who live in the vibrant mountains of Colombia, a magical place called Encanto. The location has granted every child in the Madrigal family with a unique skill set, be it super strength or the ability to heal, except for Mirabel. Nonetheless, when the magic of Encanto is placed in jeopardy, the ordinary youngling must step up to save her loved ones.
Release Date: 24th November 2021
Illumination Entertainment’s “Sing” was a heartfelt animated mashup of reality talent shows like The Voice and The Factor, bringing the fun and sensations to the hapless sensation of a singing contest. Now, Buster and his new cast have set their sights on debuting a new show at the Crystal Tower Theater. Without any connections, the crew must sneak into the headquarters run by a ruthless mogul.
The gang soon pitch the ridiculous notion to bring lion rock legend Clay Calloway on their show. As such. Buster and company must embark on a quest to find the now-isolated Clay and persuade him to return to the stage.
Release Date: 23rd December 2021
Originally set to release last year, Sony Animation’s “Connected” is the dysfunctional family road-trip gone wrong as daddy Rick, mommy Linda, little Aaron, sister Katie and pug Monchi get tied up in a Terminator-like uprising happening around the world. With the help of two friendly malfunctioning robots, the Mitchell family will have to get past their problems and work together to save each other and the world.
Release Date: TBA
MY FATHER’S DRAGON
Based on the 1948 children’s novel of the same name by Ruth Stiles Gannett, “My Father’s Dragon” is Cartoon Saloon’s next effort after their fantastic effort in Wolfwalkers last year. “My Father’s Dragon” details the adventures of Elmer Elevator who resolves to find a dragon on Wild Island. Along the way, he encounters many strange and absurd challenges. Onward, to the dragon, yer’ little lad!
Release Date: TBA
In a game of wishes, Din, a working-class college student sets off on a journey through the cityscapes of Shanghai to pursue his dreams and find his long-lost childhood friend Lina. Accompanying him on his quest is a cynical but powerful wish-granting dragon named Long. Together, the duo will seek and find the answers to some of life’s toughest questions.
Release Date: TBA
RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE
Nickelodeon’s “Rise of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie” brings the nunchucks and cowabungas as the kickass-reptiles face their greatest challenge yet in the form of The Krang! When a mysterious stranger arrives from the future with a grave warning, it is up to Leo, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey, to trade in their pizza parties in order to save the world.
Release Date: TBA
TROLLHUNTERS: RISE OF THE TITANS
Guillermo del Toro’s “Trollhunters” is finally getting a feature-length film! On the surface, Arcadia may look like an ordinary town but it is the nexus of magic and mysticism, making it a centre for many arcane battles among otherworldly creatures including trolls, aliens and wizards. Now, the heroes from the hit series “Trollhunters”, 3 Below and Wizards, team-up in their most epic adventure yet as they must fight the Arcane Order for control over the magic that binds them all.
Release Date: TBA
Which of these animated releases of 2021 are you most excited for? Leave your picks in the comments!